I'm thinking we should start some sort of Coven.. or that maybe we're already in one and we should just kick up our alcohol intake, accessories and general spell-casting.
(I mean think about it... we are a group of women who prefer to stick to one another. We talk herbs, potions, medications, meditations... We're cyclical creatures who throw ourselves at the altar of fertility. I mean, for chrissakes I own at least three fertility amulets and some fertility candles. We're a Coven, I say.)
In an Ambien haze, I ordered myself some Roald Dahl books because I love them, and for some reason I no longer seemed to own them. (Ambien = Christmas. I order myself gifts, completely forget that I've done so, arrive home to find surprise packages on my front step. I am my own Santa.)
This weekend it was approximately 10,000 degrees in Los Angeles so I spent the last 48 hours breathing heavily next to a fan, looking at the mess in my house and thinking 'ohhhh, I should probably do something about that but that would require moving' and wishing I had a magic wand. It's a straight up Tennessee Williams play in my house. It is hotter than hell and I may have the vapors.
Whilst sweating I re-read Roald Dahl's "The Witches". If you haven't read it (...serrrriously? I can't even look at you) I'll give you the jist.
There's a secret group of women throughout the world. They're itchy. Their feet are uncomfortable. They've inexplicably grown claws. They regard other people's children in the same way one would dog shit, spend their time trying to lure children and hope to eventually turn them into mice. They only peel off their masks and itch freely if they're in a room exclusively made up of their fellow witches.
As a child I used to read this book hoping for the downfall of these poor women. Now I realize these 'witches' are just a rogue pack of misunderstood infertiles hopped up on hormones. And now we're much more dangerous seeing as how since the internet was invented we can find each other by the thousands.
Apart from videos of Corgi's doing basically anything, one of my favorite non-fertility related things on the internet is Humans of New York. I haven't been to New York in years and I obviously don't live there, but honestly... You should follow it on Facebook because it's absolutely fascinating and it is a fantastic, fantastic way to break up all the usual sonogram snipering and "look at what my kids had for lunch!" statuses on Fertilebook.
Basically, this brilliant photographer goes out onto the streets of New York and takes portraits of the people that he finds. While he's doing so, he usually asks them a question about their life and writes a small 'story' about how they responded. It sounds simple but it's extraordinary.
This weekend, much to my delight, this photo popped up with the following story:
"What was the saddest moment of your life?"
"Probably when our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage."
"Had you chosen a name?"
"No. But we were given the remains to bring to a laboratory. And we named the jar. We named it 'Formolin,' which is a derivative of the Spanish word for formaldehyde. We both have a very dark sense of humor. It's how we coped."
And thus I was introduced to my favorite picture/story of HONY, ever, which is a hard thing to accomplish.
For one, I love when there's a storyline outside the world of infertility that has to do with miscarriage. Two, I am obviously in a camp (as are many of us) where I thoroughly believe that having humor about something awful is absolutely necessary.
What was most fascinating about it - and what ate up a good 45 minutes of my time that would've otherwise just been spent sweating - were the comments. Some of them made me happy, some of them pissed me off and most were in between. I could not stop reading them.
It's as if someone took a little bit of our secret world, our infertile Coven, broadcast it to a few thousand unsuspecting people, and I got to sit there and watch them respond. Truly. It was, by pure accident, the best, most honest poll of how the average person would respond if they were a victim of some sort of sorcery that immersed them, fully, into our world for just a moment.
A lot of the comments were lovely condolences.
Some of the comments were plucked straight out of the 'what not to say to someone who's had a miscarriage' textbook. You know, "Everything happens for a reason!", "It just wasn't meant to be!"; "See everybody? Don't worry about it, because you'll go on to have your family someday!". At this point I am totally forgiving of saying things like this because I would probably be saying the same things... Though if someone was newly widowed, I would like to think we would all know not to say "Don't worry! You'll meet someone in the future and it will make up for it! Everything happens for a reason!"
Some of them were genuinely freaked out by the dark humor... some of them were even so clueless as to why she would even have her fetus in a jar they were bordering on implying she was involved in some sort of dark magic (seriously people.. just a quick Google search would've answered your question). I obviously immediately understood the humor (and thought it was brilliant) but seeing how eeked out some people were made me a little self conscious that our world was being shared with 'others'... like the muggles were temporarily being exposed to the darker sides of the Harry Potter world... but I kind of get their response.
You know that saying about boiling frogs? (No seriously - even from a non-witch standpoint it's totally a saying).
If you stick a frog in a boiling pot of water, it will become panicked and jump right out. If you stick a frog in a pot full of lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat, it will stay until it's nice and toasty.
So reading the freaked out comments on the photo is a bit like watching a bunch of frogs being put into our pot, and immediately wanting to jump the hell out.
In 2009, when Bub and I decided to start trying, if I had conceived immediately and had two kids by now... I would probably read something like this and my mouth would drop open.
As it actually is, I laughed out loud.
Until you're hurled into the throws of something unimaginably awful like miscarriage or infertility in general, you have no idea what it feels like... and kudos to the commenters who seemed to grasp it despite their inexperience. I'm in awe of anyone sensitive enough to be good at the 'if I were this person...' game.
At first reading people upset about her dark humor made me feel naked and gave me an urge to explain... but the more I read the more it morphed into feeling smugly proud of myself. (But don't worry - I did, as a helpful PSA, try to inform people the only appropriate response to someone's loss is "that fucking sucks").
It takes an arsenal of witchcraft to keep yourself afloat in a pot of loss. It's a witches brew of herbs, medication, and the most important ingredient of all, in my opinion, is to have a sense of humor. The end result when done properly out of necessity is supernatural strength. The herb known as chuckle is so vitally important and rare, that it should be sought after the instant it becomes available and in whatever form it's available in. Every True Witch knows that.
So in the end, seeing the opinions of the average fertile (which we all knew) played out through a casual discussion, sparked by a photo and story on HONY's Facebook page, made me feel pretty good.
Naturally, a lot of these frogs couldn't handle the heat of our pot, and were so absolutely shocked that anyone could not only handle it but handle it with humor. (If you're going to need the strength to survive a boiling, might as well treat it as much like a jacuzzi as you can, when you can).
As for responding to that story with any level of panic - good for you, mere mortals. May you never understand what she's talking about. I, however, do. The world has tried to burn us a million times, and somehow we still thrive. It requires potions and elixirs and monsters I hope you never have to deal with. Girlfriend may have two adorable kids now, but she is forever a sister in my Coven.
And my fellow bitchy-witches are clever and hilarious. It's just the kind of strength that requires witchcraft.